The synthetic versus the natural—Dr. Andrew Weil has always been an active proponent of the latter. But he manages to incorporate the best of the two. Whether it be pharmaceutical derivatives versus plant medicines or standard Western allopathic treatment versus alter native systems of healing, Weil breaks new ground by helping to sort out the best remedy for each of his patients.
Few medical doctors can boast of completing an undergraduate degree in botany, investigating the plant sources of pharmaceutical remedies. But Weil attended Harvard in the early ’60s, studying ethnobotany under the renowned Dr. Richard Schultes, the father of Modern Ethnobotany.
After graduating from Harvard Medical School, Weil worked for the National Institute of Mental Health. He initially declined to practice medicine for moral reasons: “If I got sick, I wouldn’t want done to me what I had been taught to do to other people.” Instead, he traveled the globe—particularly South…
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